30-year-old software engineer Tony Veckey from Chicago came to Vegas this year to take his first crack at a major live tournament, and it paid off bigtime as he won his first winner's bracelet and the main prize of $673 279 for his $1 500 buy-in to Event 54 – the No-Limit Hold’em competition.
With an entry field of 2 818 and a prize pool of $3 846 570, the event took four days to unfold, with the final table paying out as follows:
1. Tony Veckey — $673 276
2. Jason Wheeler — $418 122
3. Joseph Chaplin — $ 276 029
4. Sergey Konkin — $195 213
5. Andrew Malott — $147 131
6. Christopher Bonita — $117 358
7. Christopher DeMaci — $98 933
8. David Jaoui — $87 855
9. Miha Remic — $81 970
Big names who failed to make the final table included Jonathan Little, Alexander Kostritsyn, Liv Boeree and J.C. Tran, although Carlos Mortensen, Amit Makhija, Hevad Khan and Theo Tran were amomg the just short of 300 players who managed to cash in the event.
Holding just over a million in chips, Veckey was around the middle of the chip counts when final table play started after around 10 hours of Day 4 action, and he played a low profile but clever game until the table reached the four-handed stage, when he shrewdly moved in and bundled out two players to set the heads up with Jason Wheeler, a pro from California who has 5 career cashes and total winnings of $464 951 to his credit.
Despite going into heads up play trailing Wheeler 2 to 1 on chip counts, Veckey took less than an hour to dismiss his opponent with a second placing $418 122 paycheck – his biggest career cash to date.